Inside PlayStation Network - Super Stardust HD

The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.

Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We've got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.

Today, we shine the spotlight on Super Stardust HD.


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Developer: Housemarque
Region(s) available: North America, Europe, Japan
Players: 1-2

Capitalizing on the retro-fuelled, dual-joystick blasting antics of Robotron, Housemarque’s Super Stardust HD may carry a whiff of ‘been there, done that’ about its aura, but don’t let that stop you from have a gander at what’s on offer. Gameplay wise, things couldn’t be more clear-cut. Players hop into the cockpit of a pint-sized spacecraft tasked with blasting asteroids apart, which have a nasty habit of gravitating towards a nearby planet’s protective grid. Three weapon types are up for grabs, each one possessing varying degrees of effectiveness against the myriad of rock types that come hurtling inexorably towards your position.

Blowing apart rocks will expose their core, which nets you a power-up for your troubles. And there’s a fair bunch of them, too. Extra lives, protective shields and bombs can all be collected as you obliterate asteroids, plus you’ll also be able to slice your way through incoming objects with the handy boost attack. It’s not just asteroids you have to worry about, either. Each stage is accompanied by a boss battle, and there’s five plants in total to protect, with difficult increasing as you progress. If you can’t take the heat however, you can plump to tackle each stage individually rather than plough through the relentless nature of arcade mode.

As expected, Super Stardust HD comes equipped with co-op play, albeit in offline form only – no online-based blasting here, folks. Here, players view the action in split-screen fashion, and have the added benefit of augmenting each other’s weapons by sticking in close proximity. Stray too far, however, and you’ll drag your mate along with you. Visually the game’s a simplistic yet vibrant affair, with some flashy explosions and colours made all the more crisp by 1080p output. This combined with the appropriately sci-fi themed soundtrack makes Super Stardust HD very much a space-themed offshoot of Blast Factor.

Most noteworthy however is that this bite-sized blaster was one of the first games to incorporate Sony’s then-new Trophy support system. As a result, Super Stardust HD offers up 17 Trophies to unlock, one of which can only be nabbed by competing in co-op play. So, if you happen to be a Billy-no-mates, then that glorious 100% completion ratio will sadly remain forever out of your grasp. Be sure to pop on over to our review for the full skinny on Housemarque's celebrated blast 'em up.

Tune in again same time tomorrow as we have another fiddle about Inside PlayStation Nework.

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